President Shirley Ann Jackson applauded plans announced in October by President Barack Obama to strengthen advanced manufacturing in the United States, spur innovation, and continue to take steps to make the nation a magnet for new jobs and investment.

President Obama announced the initiatives in a meeting with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) Steering Committee on Oct. 27. His plans to make investments in emerging, cross-cutting manufacturing technologies, to train the workforce with skills for middle-class jobs in manufacturing, and to equip small manufacturers to adopt cutting-edge technologies are aligned with recommendations of the AMP 2.0 Steering Committee as detailed in their latest report, titled Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing. President Jackson, a member of the AMP 2.0 Steering Committee, attended the White House meeting with President Obama.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

“As we have seen at Rensselaer and throughout the country, there is enormous potential to expand the U.S. manufacturing base, but it will require targeted investments and key collaborations among industry, academia, and government. The initiatives President Obama announced this week to harness the capacity of new technologies, integrate those technologies into the manufacturing sector, and foster a high-skills manufacturing workforce are essential ingredients to strengthen and expand the U.S. advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem,” President Jackson said.

Initiatives announced by President Obama include: investing more than $300 million in emerging manufacturing technologies critical for U.S. competitiveness; spurring innovation by providing manufacturers access to new and expanded state-of-the-art facilities like those in the U.S. national laboratories; expanding effective workforce development strategies through the $100 million American Apprenticeships grant competition; and launching new tools and a five-year initial investment to support innovative small manufacturers in the supply chain.

In April 2014, Rensselaer and Global Foundries, headquartered in Malta, N.Y., hosted an AMP Regional Meeting. Manufacturers, policy makers, academics, and other stakeholders in the regional and national manufacturing ecosystem gathered at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer to provide feedback from regional stakeholders, generate ideas, and identify examples of innovative strategies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. Input collected at these Regional Meetings helped inform the AMP report.

In addition, four Rensselaer experts were involved in developing recommendations in the report, including: robotics and control systems expert John Wen, head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Vice President for Research Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and an expert in biomanufacturing; Deborah Altenburg, director of federal relations; and Craig Dory, director of business development of the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems.

President Obama created the AMP in 2011 to help revitalize the national manufacturing sector, create high-quality manufacturing jobs, and enhance America’s global competitiveness. In 2013, he appointed President Jackson and 18 others to the AMP 2.0 Steering Committee. Comprised of leaders from industry, academia, and labor, the AMP 2.0 Steering Committee was charged with implementing the initial Steering Committee’s recommendations, as well as identifying new strategies for securing the nation’s competitive advantage in transformative early-stage technologies. The AMP 2.0 Steering Committee functions as a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), of which President Jackson was a member. In addition to being a member of PCAST from 2009 to September 2014, she co-chaired the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee. In that role, in 2011 she co-authored a report to President Obama offering an overarching strategy for revitalizing the leadership of the nation in manufacturing.